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Identification and Creation

Object Number
C. C. Wang (Chi-Chien Wang) 王己千, Chinese (1907 - 2003)
Work Type
hanging scroll, painting
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, with artist’s signature and seal
painting proper: 61.9 x 23 cm (24 3/8 x 9 1/16 in.)
full mounting: 163.5 x 34.8 cm (64 3/8 x 13 11/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Lower right, black ink: Jiqian (Chinese brush-written characters followed by a red seal reading "Wang Jiqian xi")
  • seal: artist's square red relief seal, following signature: "Wang Jiqian xi"
  • inscription: dated signature brush-written in black ink at lower right: "Dingwei Jiqian" (In the dingwei year [1967]; Jiqian)


Recorded Ownership History
Wang Jiqian, New York (1967-by 2003?), probably gift; to Chu-tsing Li, Lawrence, Kansas (by 2003?-2012), gift; to his son B U.K. Li, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2012-2014), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2014.

1. Dr. Chu-tsing Li (1920-2014)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Chu-tsing Li Collection, Gift of B U.K. Li in memory of Chu-tsing Li, Yao-wen Kwang Li, and Teri Ho Li
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Sheer jagged cliffs and weathered rocks are juxtaposed with a vista of archipelagos receding deeply into space. Ink blotted onto the paper offers density and texture, while brushstrokes describe impossibly steep pathways and tiny cottages nestled at the foot of the rough peaks.
Wang Jiqian’s landscapes have been termed “mountains of the mind” for their inventiveness and power. The modern look of his paintings results in part from his practice of applying ink with auxiliary papers or implements other than brushes.
Yet his work also has classical references, seen here in the composition, which contrasts verticals on one side with horizontals on the other, a device used at least as early as the eighth century in Chinese landscape painting.
Wang Jiqian was known throughout his career as a connoisseur and collector of classical Chinese paintings. Wang studied traditional landscape painting in Shangahi under Wu Hufan (1894–1968), but in the late 1940s he moved to New York, where he pursued Western drawing techniques. He developed a style that, while strikingly new, maintained its moorings in tradition.

Publication History

  • Robert D. Mowry and Claudia Brown, A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge, Mass., 2007), cat. 4

Exhibition History

  • A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 11/03/2007 - 01/27/2008; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, 06/28/2008 - 09/14/2008; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, 10/11/2008 - 01/04/2009; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, 02/11/2009 - 05/24/2009

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at